Georgia’s Obesity Rate Still Above 30%

Andy Miller published an article with Georgia Health News (GHN) yesterday that revealed that Georgia’s obesity rate, considered as a BMI of 30 or above, was 30.5% in 2014. This ranks us at 19th in the nation.

The obesity rate has grown from 10.1% in 1990, 20.6% in 2000, and 30.3% in 2013. African-Americans are at a 37.5% obesity rate in Georgia, while whites are at 27.5%. The numbers were released in a report earlier in the week by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, stated to GHN:

 “While we recognize there is significant work to be done in Georgia to reduce the adult obesity rate, the fact the state remained statistically flat from year to year is a positive. We are seeing significant improvements in our youngest Georgians.’’

Dr. Fitzgerald gives credit for to the Georgia SHAPE program and its Power Up for 30 initiative for helping to prevent childhood obesity. This program “encourages schools to give children an additional 30 minutes of physical activity daily.”

Rodney Lyn, an obesity expert and an associate dean in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University, stated that more programs and funding have been added over the last decade to help prevent obesity. The steps taken include serving healthier food in schools and the development of more parks and greenspace.  He has also seen a reduction in the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Lyn added that “there are signs of progress among children” but concluding that “we have a long way to go.”

He said that poverty is a major risk factor for obesity. He believes that poverty can lead to people skipping meals or eating less due to a lack of food and then binge eating when food is available. This can often lead to weight gain. He further cites that fast food restaurants are often the choice in communities where there is a deficiency in access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Lyn further stated that a heavy burden of chronic diseases stems from obesity and that “we haven’t really seen the full toll of this epidemic.” The report reflects the chronic disease issue by showing that Georgia ranks 10th in the nation with an adult diabetes rate of 11.6% and 12th in  nation with a hypertension rate of 35 percent.

Personal Note:

I was obese. I let a lot of things get in my way of a more healthy lifestyle, including politics. I have learned that health is extremely important to every facet of life.

I had a BMI of 31.5 on February 15, 2015, which placed me in the obese category. My cholesterol was high, my blood sugar was off, etc., etc. Six months later, by implementing a diet and exercise plan, I was able to reduce it down to 24.0, which puts me in the “normal” range.  

You can calculate your BMI HERE You may be surprised.


  1. gcp says:

    The problem is particularly bad among black females as CDC reports that 57% over 20 years old are obese. Unfortunately, obesity is today considered culturally normal, rather than abnormal.

  2. Self_Made says:

    No need to change the zoning laws. Perhaps if companies actually performed market analysis instead of relying on dated studies, they’d see that the demand for healthier food options is growing in minority and lower income populations…and then LOCATE them where they live. The fact that there is still high demand for QSR’s is unquestionable, but there should be at least SOME healthier options showing up south of I-20. If LA Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Smoothie King can make inroads in those communities, why can Whole Foods and Fresh Market?

    • saltycracker says:

      Yep, all those entrepreneurs in Alanta just don’t understand the market and are passing on a great opportunity to utilize abandoned st0res south of 20. Cough

    • gcp says:

      The problem is not so much why type of stores are available to folks. The problem is the type of food they buy. I see a lot of food stampers buying junk food at supermarkets when they could just as easily purchase healthier food.

        • gcp says:

          As for food stamps, congress or ag department could restrict food choices. But of course there are more obese that are not on food stamps than are on food stamps. That’s where we need education, peer pressure and community leaders that are willing to talk about obesity.

          We got local pastors that talk politics from the pulpit, maybe they should also talk healthy eating. And how about if teachers, politicians and media folks talked healthy eating.

          Also, let health insurance companies charge higher premiums for the obese just as they do currently for smokers. Same thing for Medicare/Medicaid, utilize a slight surcharge for the obese.

          • IndyPendant says:

            “We got local pastors that talk politics from the pulpit, maybe they should also talk healthy eating.”

            I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.

            Gluttony is not only tolerated, it’s virtually celebrated in Christianity today.

            • blakeage80 says:

              Nowhere have I found gluttony celebrated in Christianity. I’m not sure why you chose to take this shot, but its in poor taste.

              • benevolus says:

                Are you kidding? Many Christian holidays typically involve feasts. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. And then there is the quasi-Christian feasts or at least candy consumption; Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s day, Halloween, (St.) Valenetine’s Day.

                Don’t get me wrong- I like a big turkey dinner as much as the next guy, but it’s hard to avoid the massive quantities of food association with these holidays. Gluttony may be a strong word but we’re sure not dieting during those events.

          • benevolus says:

            “community leaders that are willing to talk about obesity. ”
            And yet when the First lady does this she gets ridiculed mercilessly.

            I wish I had time to participate more fully today but I don’t.

            • gcp says:

              The problem with Michelle Obama is she only talked about kids and they are an easy target cause they don’t vote. Why didn’t she talk about adults and the 57% I referenced in my first comment? Any idea?

              • georgiahack says:

                Weak. Because changing habits when you are young is the best way to get them to do it when they are adults.

                It is also cause school lunches are one avenue that he Gov’t actually has some say so.

              • benevolus says:

                You got to start somewhere. Just because you can’t do it all at once and completely perfectly is no reason to oppose progress.

                • gcp says:

                  Never said I opposed her “let’s move” program. The problem is Michelle Obama ignores obese adults because she does not want to alienate supporters and/or her political base. Many kids are obese because of behavior and habits of adult family members. The obesity problem is too serious to only address in a politically correct manner.

                  • Lea Thrace says:

                    “Michelle Obama ignores obese adults because she does not want to alienate supporters and/or her political base.”

                    Please show me some sort of evidence of this. Something she has said to this effect?

                    • D_in_ATL says:

                      You do realize the utter futility of your request, right? There’s no arguing with this guy…he’s got all the answers already.

                    • Lea Thrace says:


                      Seriously! That’s what you are going with? Your argument is the equivalent of someone getting mad at a Breast Cancer research foundation for not working on Prostate Cancer research. THAT IS A REALLY REALLY less than smart argument. I feel like you should be better than that type of argument. Come with facts or quotes or something next time. Sheesh


                      I know. But I had to at least try.

      • MattMD says:

        I am going to call BS on this. Where do you live where you see “a lot of food stampers”? Where do you shop? How do you know these “food stampers” are using EBT cards?

        It seems to me that you would have to be relatively close to someone to see how they pay since EBT cards are essentially debit cards these days.

        • gcp says:

          Kroger, Sprouts, Aldi in Gwinnett. Sprouts by the way, is a “healthy” store. 37$ spent on nuts and a few other items by an obese woman at Sprouts with a food stamp card was not a very wise choice in terms of prudent spending. As for those food stamp cards, they are quite distinctive and easy to spot.

          • IndyPendant says:

            You’re missing Matt’s point.

            Even if you’re in the grocery store two or three times a week, perhaps you seen someone with an EBT card during one of those visits……so four times a month, fifty times a year?

            That’s not a representative sample of people receiving assistance.

            • gcp says:

              You and Matt are missing the point of the article and the discussion. Sack never mentions food stamps. I referenced food stamps because food stamp use is higher in low income areas which also have high obesity rates. And yes, obviously my observations are only representative of what I observe.

              As I stated above, food stamps are only a small part of the obesity problem. I gave several recommendations so now I must ask for your recommendations.

              • Lea Thrace says:

                Are you familiar with “food deserts” and how they tend to be concentrated in lower income areas? I am not so sure that your assertion that poorer people have access to healthier foods is really true. If you don’t have fresh food, fruits and veggies, etc. available at the supermarket closest to you, what are you to do? Spend the money to go farther to one that does? Not when you are pinching pennies.

              • Lea Thrace says:

                I will say that I am looking forward to the outcome of Marta’s experiment with station farmers markets that provide some new options for fresh food. If it works, it could be a great way to combat the food desert issue.

                • gcp says:

                  Not buying the “food desert” argument. Most metro folks have access to cars, public transit, friends/neighbors with cars and family members with cars. Otherwise, how do they currently get to work or to the doctor or anywhere?

                  • Lea Thrace says:

                    The food desert “argument” as you put it is pretty well researched. I suggest you actually go into some of these poor communities and see what they are dealing with. It is not as easy as it seems. I thought the same way as you until I started volunteering in these areas. Simple things that seem like common sense or easy logical solutions are not so when you do not have two pennies to rub together.

                    • John Konop says:


                      • ….Girls tend to waste more food than boys.
                      • Younger children tend to waste more than older children.
                      • Plate waste varies by food type, with salad, vegetables and fruit usually reported to be the most wasted items………

                      GCP is right about this not just about an access to healthy food problem, education and community involvement is key as well. If so, we would not have the problem with even free food at schools having health food thrown away first.

  3. Ellynn says:

    About this time last year I started teaching a single mother who left an abusive relationship basic life skills, including cooking and shopping (to recap, she’s on almost every government program their is, works two jobs, has 4 children under 12, and she just turned 30). At the same time I was told I had a rare liver condition that would become very bad very quickly when combined with my family history, so I had to radically change my diet. Her life and the reasoning behind some of the basic choices of what she and her children eat everyday – along with what I have had to change in my own food choices forced me to rethink food and it’s costs. It’s easy for any of us to say pick better food. Until you understand all that goes into that choice. When I have more time, I may write more on this.

  4. Ellynn says:

    Lawton, Congratulation on your achievement. Having looked at my own BMI over the years, this is no small feet.

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